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Top 10 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

While pregnant women are advised to eat a variety of nutritious foods to get all the nutrients they need. But there are some foods that pregnant women should avoid because they contain harmful substances that can be dangerous to your baby’s health. Here are some foods that you should avoid during pregnancy.

  1. Raw fish
    Fish are rich in protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are all essential nutrients for the development of baby’s nervous system.

    Although fish is one of the most important foods for pregnant women. But you need to avoid raw fish such as sushi, sashimi, and raw shellfish, because they might be contaminated with harmful bacteria. Some fish contain a significant amount of mercury that may harm your unborn baby, so they shouldn’t be eaten during pregnancy. Fish that are high in mercury content include shark, swordfish, tuna and king mackerel or tilefish.

  2. Raw meats and raw eggs
    Like the raw fish, raw meats and raw eggs are potential sources of bacteria like E. Coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, so stay away from these raw foods to avoid food poisoning and its harmful effects on your unborn baby.
  3. Caffeinated drinks
    Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea, and cola, can affect your body’s ability to absorb minerals such as iron and calcium. High levels of caffeine can even result in miscarriage and premature birth. So pregnant women are advised to limit the amount of caffeine you have each day. NSW Health recommends that pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to 200mg per day. That amount would be equal to either:

    • One-two cups of espresso
    • Three cups of instant coffee
    • Three-four cups of tea
    • Four cans of cola
    • Four cups of cocoa or hot chocolate
  4. Alcohol
    As it is not known how much alcohol is safe to drink during pregnancy, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) advises women who are pregnant to avoid drinking alcohol as it can lead to miscarriage.
  5. Deli meats
    Deli meats, such as bologna or salami, have been known to be contaminated with listeria, a bacteria found in some foods which can cause a serious infection and lead to miscarriage or a still-birth. if you do choose to eat deli meats, make sure to heat the meat until it’s steaming to kill off any bad bacteria.
  6. Unwashed vegetables
    Unwashed vegetables have the potential to transmit toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can lead to brain damage or blindness in your unborn baby. Hence, it is essential to wash the vegetables to avoid potential exposure to toxoplasmosis.
  7. Unpasteurized (raw) milk
    Unpasteurized or raw milk products can possibly contain listeria, which can cause miscarriage. So, make sure that any milk you drink is pasteurized.
  8. Soft cheeses
    Some soft cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert, Feta, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola, may be unpasteurized as well, which may be contaminated with Listeria. So, pregnant women should avoid these products, unless they clearly state that they are made from pasteurized milk. All soft cheeses made with pasteurized milk are safe to eat during pregnancy.
  9. Ice cream
    Pregnant women should avoid eating soft serve ice cream because it may contain raw eggs, which may be contaminated with Salmonella, a type of food-borne illness caused by salmonella bacteria. Also, soft-serve ice cream machine may contain listeria that are harmful if ingested in pregnancy.
  10. Ginseng
    Although ginseng is safe for human consumption, pregnant women should consult with doctor before taking any of this herbal medicine. Because ginseng may increase the risk of vaginal bleeding which can lead to premature birth or birth defects.

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